Female genital mutilation and female circumcision are different names for the same thing.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) has been a criminal offence in the UK since 1985; it is Child Abuse. In 2003 it became a criminal offence for UK nationals or permanent UK residents to take their child abroad for FGM. Anyone found guilty of the offence faces a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.
FGM refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. You may know this as ‘cutting’.
No Health Benefits
FGM has no health benefits and harms girls and women in many ways. It involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, and interferes with the natural function of girls’ and women’s bodies. The practice causes severe pain and has several immediate and long-term health consequences, including difficulties in childbirth.
If you or someone you know is at risk of having FGM or female circumcision you should contact the police on 999 immediately.
Worried about a friend?
- You may want to speak to your friend or speak with a safe adult if you’re worried they’re going on holiday and at risk of FGM
- You may notice your friend is acting withdraw by not socialising and not attending school
- You may notice your friend is more unwell than usual, this could be a sign that they have an infection
- You may notice your friend is having frequent toilet visits and is complaining of a tummy ache
If you’re worried that you or a friend may be a t risk of FGM you can contact the NSPCC FGM Helpline 0800 028 3550 or Childline 0800 111 or speak to your teacher, school nurse or GP all of whom will be able to help you and support you.
Or if you’re concerned that you or a friend is at immediate risk and need help quickly call the police on 999 and they will help and support you.
Some girls don’t realise what has happened to them until they first try to have intercourse and it proves painful and frightening. For help and support you can contact the above numbers for advice and support or talk to your teacher, school nurse or GP.
How to get help
If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your public health nurse.
Find help in your local area
Find out what services are available to you in your area. Remember your school nurse is always there to give you confidential help and support.